Transmission Ministry Collective (TMC) is an online community created by and for transgender and gender-expansive Christians to grow in faith, support each other, and heal the world. We are committed to creating a space where trans folks have the freedom to explore their faith on their own terms, within a community where they are embraced and celebrated. We offer a safe refuge to those seeking healing from religious trauma, transphobia, and rejection from communities of faith, and we advocate for every trans person’s right to self-identify, access transition-related care, and thrive as their whole and authentic self.
Put simply, “transgender” (often shortened to “trans”) is a word used to describe someone whose gender identity differs in some way from the gender/sex they were assigned at birth. It is often used alongside the word “cisgender,” which refers to someone whose gender identity is the same as the gender/sex they were assigned at birth. Although the word transgender is a relatively new one, the experience it describes has existed through all of human history.
Not everyone who experiences their gender differently from their birth assignment identifies with the word “transgender.” For example, some nonbinary people also identify as transgender, while some do not. Some people choose to use words or descriptions for their gender experience rooted in non-white and/or non-Western cultural contexts. And some folks are still discovering what identity terms are most meaningful to them. In short, there’s no one word that works for everyone in our community! So, following the example of researchers and advocates like Stephanie Brill and Lisa Kenney at Gender Spectrum, we use the phrase “gender-expansive” as “an umbrella term used for individuals who broaden their own culture’s commonly held definitions of gender, including expectations for its expression, identities, roles, and/or other perceived gender norms.”
While there are many other community and support spaces for trans and gender-expansive people, TMC is unique in its focus on spiritual community and growth within Christian traditions. The work we do at TMC is rooted in our faith, and we see it as part of our calling to follow Jesus. As certain interpretations of Christianity are being used to justify exclusion, discrimination, and spiritual abuse against trans people, TMC exists specifically to offer an alternative vision. Our work centers trans and gender-expansive people, but we also have a ministry to the larger Christian community. We seek to make affirming theological education available to everyone, and to transform the church by cultivating the leadership of gender-expansive people on every level.
The term “collective” expresses TMC’s commitment to being a community led by our members through communal decision-making and shared power. We are always working to live more deeply into this identity by seeking the guidance of the community members. Staff in leadership roles hold “office hours” when any community member can sign up for a one-on-one meeting and share their thoughts. Our first annual community survey, completed in Fall 2022, allowed community members to share their input on TMC’s programs, structure, and future. Any community member is also welcome to suggest or initiate a program, and if approved by the Board, staff will support them in implementing it. We are also in the process of transitioning to a Co-Executive Director structure that will move TMC away from the usual hierarchical model of nonprofit leadership, as we continue to explore what it means to be a collective.
Yes! Transmission Ministry Collective believes that people of all gender identities and expressions are fully loved by God and should be supported at every level by their Christian siblings. We believe that God made humans co-creators and stewards of creation, and therefore the ways in which trans and gender-expansive people may choose to steward their bodies through medical and/or social transition constitutes faithful action. We will always advocate for every individual’s right to self-identify and to choose any processes which bring them into alignment with themselves. We also fully affirm and celebrate people of all sexual orientations and relationship structures.
There is no expectation that our members will share a certain set of doctrinal beliefs. Part of the challenge and joy of being in spiritual community with each other is honoring these differences and entering into fruitful dialogue about our respective understandings of gender and faith. We do expect our community to uphold and embody our belief in the full affirmation and celebration of people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions. We are also committed as a community to learning and practices that work to dismantle white supremacist and colonial ideologies, and which model a theology of liberation.
Absolutely. Though most of our members have had a connection to Christianity at some point in their lives, their present relationships to Christian faith and institutions are varied. Most have experienced both marginalization and meaning in Christian contexts, and many are still exploring the role faith will have in their future.
No. TMC has no formal relationship to any church or denomination, and includes members with a wide range of church and denominational affiliations, as well as those with no specific affiliation. In our recent community survey, the top three responses to our question about connection to a particular faith tradition were “nondenominational,” “other,” and “not sure.”
As a community that is trans-centered but not trans-exclusive, TMC has some spaces and events that are open to all, and others that are just for trans and gender-expansive people. Educational events such as workshops are for everyone, while our Discord server, as well as most of our support groups, are community spaces for trans and gender-expansive people only. We also have support groups that are specifically for trans and gender-expansive people with a certain background or set of experiences, such as people of color or people in middle and elder stages of life. We try to be as specific as possible in the descriptions of events and programs here on our website, so please read those descriptions carefully before joining us!
TMC was founded in Minneapolis, MN, and that’s currently the location of our official mailing address. However, TMC is a fully online community, so we’re not really based in any one place! Our staff members work remotely from several different parts of the United States. The majority of our community members also live in the US, but also represent at least 8 other countries, including Canada, the UK, France, and Australia!
As a small nonprofit organization, TMC relies exclusively on funding from individuals, churches, and private foundations, so we deeply appreciate your interest in extending support. You can make a one-time donation or set up a recurring donation here. If you’re interested in connecting us to a foundation or other grant funding source, or if you’d like to learn more about how your church or faith community can partner with TMC, please contact Peter Clare at firstname.lastname@example.org.